Institute of Experimental Psychology, Slovak Academy of Sciences (SLOVAKIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 6701-6708
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The study examined relationships between social understanding (conceptualized as consisting of theory of mind skills and empathy) and prosocial orientation in class at primary school. One hundred ninety seven preadolescents aged 11 to 15 participated in the study. Three self-reported questionnaires – ESI (Empathy Scale Items by Caruso, & Mayer, 1998), BES (Basic Empathy Scale by Jolliffe & Farrington, 2006) and IRI (Interpersonal Reactivity Index by Davis, 1980) – were used to measure empathy, theory of mind skills were measured by two adapted tests – IMT (Imposing Memory Task by Kinderman, Dunbar, & Bentall, 1998) and AMT (Awkward Moments Test by Heavey et al., 2000) and social behavior in class was assessed by peer-nominated questionnaire.
Using cluster analysis we identified four types of behavior differ from prosocial and antisocial tendencies and they showed also significant differences in degree of cognitive and affective empathy and theory of mind skills.
As the most favorite and helping were perceived children who achieved the highest score in all scale of social understanding (Type 2). Results also showed that children can tolerate antisocial behavior of their classmates, but only provided that it is compensated by helping behavior and cooperation. This kind of behavior – cooperative but also antisocial sometimes is characteristic for children included in Type 1. As expected the lowest social understanding was observed in children with the strongest antisocial tendencies (Type 3). In the paper we characterized in more detail all four types of children and its consequences for school climate and classroom relationship.
Social understanding, prosocial orientation, theory of mind.